Have you ever seen a contractor constructing a storey building without a plan in place? Or have you seen an engineer building a project without a plan? It’s amazing how many businesses—in Ghana—run without a concrete business plan in place!
That is why we wonder why many businesses fail in the country!
The first thing we have to address here is that a business plan is not for starting a business. The purpose of a business plan is to build a business. Since building a business is 24/7 work for years without an end, there must always be a plan in place to keep growing the business and taking the business to the next level.
A successful business plan is the foundation of every startup or growing business. The better your plan, the better your business will grow and thrive. And there are six components of a successful business plan that must be put in every business plan.
Assumptions or Facts?
But before we look at the six components of a successful business plan, let us address these serious issues: because of the academic system, it seems that many businesspeople and entrepreneurs develop their business plan based on assumptions instead of facts—the facts of the market place.
If you build your business plan—on assumptions—then your business decisions and actions will be wrong and will ultimately lead to business failure. Brain Tracy, the renowned business consultant said, “Wrong assumptions lies at the root of every failure!”
So first of all, know that a business plan must be developed based on facts—the facts of the marketplace. You must conduct accurate research, analyze them well and from them collect validated facts to develop the plan for your business. This is the foundation of every successful business plan!
Now, there are six components of a successful business plan that must be in your business plan. Remember that your business plan is a plan for building your business—not just raising money. So you want to develop a 3 to 5 year business plan for your existing business and use it as a road map to build your business!
The first component of a successful business plan is the marketing plan. This is where it all starts from and this where many business fail as well. If you don’t have a good marketing plan, your business will not be able to grab more customers and that means you’ll suffer in making sales.
Marketing is simply what you will do to attract and connect with your target customers. All the advertisement—online and offline—must continually be generating leads that will be converted into customers through sales. And your marketing plan—must have a strategy for this!
Consider Reading: The 6 Components of a Successful Marketing Strategy
If marketing is what you do to attract your target customers to your door, sales is what you do to make them buy your product. If you are doing well in marketing and generating interest in people for your brand and your product—and you are not doing the sales work—you will miss the money.
So develop a sales plan. Determine exactly how you will convert leads, build rapport with leads and close the leads into sales. You must develop a professional sales system for which the entire sales force can be trained to follow to produce consistent results in your company.
Your operations plan is a plan of how you will provide your services or products to your customers. Your operations plan must outline exactly how your products will be served, the process and systems involved, the time or delivery and every other thing in-between.
In lay man’s terminology:
- Marketing is getting the word out
- Sales is getting the customers in
- Operations is getting the goods out
So you must develop a professional system to supply your products and services to your customers—so that they are happy to come again and again. This must be clearly outlined in your operations plan.
Customer Service Plan
Many business planners forget about customer service. The customer service function is very important because business is a people game. It’s all about handling and dealing with people. In dealing with people, a lot of issues will pop-up.
Your customer service plan clearly states how the business will handle customer suggestions, comments, frustrations and many others. The plan must also outline the various means by which this function will be carried out.
Business is a system of systems. If all the systems of the business are well planned and operated, the business will pick up and flourish. Financial performance of a business is often a revelation of the weaknesses and strengths of a business.
The financial plan of the business must then define how the business accounting and recording process will be handled. The plan must also make financial projections that will serve as a guide for working and building the business.
The administration plan serves as the “engine” for the entire business plan. The administrative plan defines the organizational structure of the business, who reports to who, who is accountable to what and the kind of people that will be involved in the operation of the business.
The administrative plan also defines the mission, vision, values and the code of honour of the business. These serve as a yardstick to regulate the affairs of all the individuals involved in the building of the business—employees, managers, directors and even shareholders.
What’s your plan to develop your business and take it to the next level? Whether you are starting a new business or improving your new business—incorporate the six components of a successful business plan into it.
Once the business plan is in place, the next thing to do is to act on the business plan. The business plan is not for decoration. It must be used as a roadmap and a guide for building and growing your business. So put the business plan into action and grow the business!